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Coach Lippi demands maximum effort from Chinese footballers

IANS logoIANS 22-03-2017

China will host South Korea in Changsha, Hunan province on Thursday night in the 2018 World Cup Asian Zone qualifier when they will strive to keep their slim hope for qualification alive, reports Xinhua news agency.

Lippi made his formal international debut with China in the World Cup qualifier last November, collecting a goalless draw with Qatar and the team's second point from five games.

China are now locked at the bottom of the 6-team Group A which includes South Korea, Iran, Uzbekistan, Qatar and Syria. The top two of the group will advance to Russia 2018 directly after a home-and-away round-robin, and the third finisher will have a playoff against its counterpart in Group B.

"All the players know the importance of this match. The result is everything. If we want to keep the hope for the qualification, we must put our best to win the three points tomorrow," said Lippi at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

Despite the road to Russia being tough, Lippi said they will fight for the best results for the fans.

"In this condition, we have some players who just finished playing in the AFC Champions League. Some players may have fatigue. But at this moment, all of them are ready for the match tomorrow," he said.

Lippi said his side has found a way to break through the high-pressing defensive line of the South Korean team.

"We will respect the opponent tomorrow. And we will take the initiative to perform all the abilities of the players on the pitch. If you ask me how to restrict their strategy, I want you to watch the match in the stadium tomorrow. And everyone will find the answer on the match pitch tomorrow," he said.

The match will be staged at the He Long Stadium in Changsha as China keep an unbeaten record here with four wins and four draws since 2005.

"Before I came to Changsha, I didn't know the good record here. I hope the city will give me a proof and we will do the same tomorrow night," said the 68-year-old former Juventus coach.

In the first leg last year, China were defeated 3-2 on the road under former coach Gao Hongbo. Lippi said there was no point in re-discussing the match and he will only focus on the next.

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